Meat Health Head On

In 2019, I, like many others, watched and subsequently felt guilty after the Netflix documentary, Gamechangers. As far as I could tell, it was my moral duty to become a vegan. I had been a vegetarian for nearly two years so I didn’t really think it would be a big deal. Why not disassociate myself from the sins of the dairy and poultry industries as well as those of meat and fish whom I had already cut myself free from.

For about 3 months, I felt great and walked around full of virtue at my morally and physically superior diet. After 6 months, I didn’t feel so great. My strength in (and motivation for) the gym tailed off. I lost muscle and gained body fat. I just felt, well, meh.

After a year, a naturopath I went to see told me to relax a bit with the diet. She didn’t say, “don’t be a Vegan,” but it was all the excuse I needed. I went home and cracked two eggs into the frying pan and my body breathed a sigh of relief. Within months I was eating meat again.

I have explored the moral implications of veganism and a carnivorous diet, and it is probably too complicated to go into in this blog alone. I will just say, that my personal opinion is that small scale, local level, organic type farms that produce low numbers of well treated animals is good for human health and also the environment.

Fast forward 14 months from when I abandoned veganism and I was ready to start an equally extreme diet. A new client presented with long standing severe gastro-intestinal issues which had been unresponsive to all interventions. I had heard about the benefits of “The Carnivore Diet” by listening to Dr Shawn Baker on The Joe Rogan Experience some years ago. I was also aware that Jordan Peterson and his daughter Mikhaila are advocates of the diet and believe it has helped them with certain auto immune disorders they suffer with. Around the time my new client turned up, I was also interested to hear that a guy I’d been training with at BJJ, who has exceptional strength and was making life difficult for me when we rolled, had been on The Carnivore Diet for a few years and had improved his psoriasis by following it. I felt like it could benefit my client, but I wanted to try it before I gave it to him. I did it strictly (minus some cheese and a few chocolates at new year) for about 6 weeks. I ate only meat (mainly red), eggs and fish. Here is what I got from the experience.

  • You can eat a lot and still not consume many calories- I intended (perhaps naively) to gain muscle on my new high protein, high fat diet. I knew I needed to be in a calorie surplus to have any chance of doing this, so I tracked my calories for the first 3 weeks. Despite what felt like almost endlessly chewing through beef mince and scrambled eggs, it was very very difficult to eat enough to get over 3000 calories. Eating a Carnivore Diet, I would suggest, is an excellent way to lose weight. I lost 9 pounds initially and after a month was certainly the leanest I’ve been for more than 10 years.
  • My mental state improved drastically- Well, that’s a bit misleading. Initially, I felt suicidal. No, really, I did. I believe that the sharp drop in muscle glycogen and the probable poor ability to access a ketogenic state probably meant that my brain was badly depleted. This was at its worst from day 5 to day 7. After that I felt amazing. And I mean it was like someone flipped a switch and I went from Kurt Cobain to…….(Googles ‘Happy Celebrities’) Harry Styles (apparently he was voted number one happiest celebrity on twitter, and who could argue with Twitter?). From that time onwards, I was mentally sharp, engaged with my family and clients, and highly motivated for my work.
  • My gastro-intestinal health improved remarkably- It’s difficult to get this across without being quite graphic. Over the course of the 6 weeks, I went from using the toilet on average 3 times a day, to once. The toilet brush wasn’t so frequently used. Possibly most importantly, my wife enjoyed fresher air both during the day and at night as I almost completely stopped farting. Unfortunately, this has exposed a hole (no pun intended) in my ability to appear to be a well-rounded husband. Apparently, even though her giggles would have been muffled as they travelled through a thick green smog that hung almost constantly in our house, my farts were the only funny thing about me so she no longer laughs as much as she did. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.
  • Eating became simpler and allowed me room for other things- Perhaps some would not see this as an advantage. Real foodies probably enjoy the preparing of elaborate meals and having a lot of variety over the course of the week, and if that’s you, then great, you do you. To me this is just an inconvenience when I have a list of To Do’s that grows in length rather than shortens on most days.


  • The total elimination of sugar is tremendous for your body- This is my biggest lesson. I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life either eliminating or drastically reducing things that were doing me various levels of harm. Many of which were considered addictions. Alcohol, drugs, coffee, pornography, meat (ironically) have all been taken out in one way or another. Lurking in the background has always been sugar. Sure, I’ve had periods where I’ve eaten more healthily and sugar would have been reduced, but essentially it was always there in some amount. It snuck in relatively unnoticed at times, in the few squares of Dark Chocolate in the evening, in ketchup on my breakfast or in a quick flapjack from a petrol station. I’m not sure of the overall or long-term effects of eating a carnivorous diet, but I’m certain that a large portion of the benefit I experienced was down to having zero sugar of any sort. My intuition tells me as a result that sugar is causing a cascade of health issues, and to a level far greater than we are even aware of and that our bodies would work in a completely different way if we could remove it from our lives completely.

Ultimately, for all the good I feel it’s done me I’m not totally comfortable with keeping this diet as a permanent change just yet. I’ve now shifted over to a keto diet as whilst I think it is possible we can get all we need from meat, eggs and fish alone, I’m still married to the belief that we must get some of our essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables. I also prefer to be able to eat the same thing as my family at times and have a proper meal time which wasn’t always easy when I had to eat something completely different to them. The experiment has been worth it however. I recommended it to my client and I am pleased to report that it seems to have contributed to a reduction in his GI symptoms. My intention is to utilise it for short periods every now and again as a way of resting my gut and to instil the same discipline into the rest of my life that is necessary in order to stick to this extreme diet. Maybe you should try it too!

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